Archive for the ‘sneak peeks’ Category

Some Built-in Updates


Posted by Michael, July 19th, 2012

When I left you, I had just finished the base of our built-in’s for the new office.  The next step was to build up the sides and then finish up with the valance.  The sides weren’t too bad; mostly straight cuts, a couple nails and some glue.  I left off the back because we don’t have the right tools to make the exact cuts required.  We figured we’ll just prime the back and then paint it white to match the finished built-ins.  Not bad.

You can see in the pictures below, I put support braces at the tops and bottoms of each bookcase.  This was to ensure we could secure this thing into another stud besides through the sides.  I also used a boatload of liquid nails.  I’m pretty sure this thing is going nowhere.  I feel bad for the next homeowners should we decide to move and should they decide to take this thing down.  Oh man, they’re in for some fun.

Next up was beginning the support pieces for the valance.  This is where I became nervous.  I knew this would have to be able to support plenty of weight between the wood valance, molding and puck-lighting.  In addition to support, I knew this would need to be completely level.  But how do you get it completely level when your ceiling is about a half inch height difference from one end to another?  I’m not sure.  But it all worked out; one way or another.

I supported the valance cleat to the wall by drilling screws through just about every stud between the two bookcases.  It also has support with lots of liquid nails.  I think I’m forming an obsession.  I also secured each end to the bookcases via screw.

I then began securing my second cleat to the ceiling.  Do you know how hard it is to find a stud in a ceiling?  I knocked and knocked on the ceiling for probably a half hour trying to find each stud.  The stud finder didn’t help, at all; probably because I’m a bit too awkward holding that thing up against the ceiling.  You’re probably wondering where I am going with these cleats and how it all ties into the valance, huh?  Here is the plan.

Each cleat will secure a portion of the weight from the valance face and bottom.  Then the valance face will secure into the bottom creating a nice clean edge.  Dear god I hope so. You’ll also see I drilled a hole for the puck lighting which will sit on the bottom of the valance bottom.

Here you see the valance face mounted via screws to the front valance cleat. It’s also secured with screws through the sides of the bookcases.  This thing is going nowhere. Don’t worry about those gaps you see between the ceiling and the bookcase; the crown will hide a lot of these imperfections.  Phew.

This is the view from “inside” the valance.  You’ll see I drilled a hole for the puck-lighting again.  See that random screw?  It was my clever way of making sure the valance face stayed level and straight while I was securing it to the cleats.  The valance bottom will fit snug behind the valance front and the rear cleat.

So what’s on the remaining to do?  A couple things actually.

  • Install puck-lighting to valance bottom.
  • Run wires to the left bookcase (where the outlet is).
  • Secure valance bottom to the rear cleat and valance face.
  • Install crown molding.
  • Caulk the heck out of this thing.
  • Prime the heck out of this thing.
  • Paint.

Stay tuned. 🙂

The lil TV Studio

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Posted by Michael, February 6th, 2012

I have something fun to show you, but I might just be bias!  Our basement got transformed into a mini television studio! We’re shooting a bit of a small film around songs and lyrics for SongMeanings.

I called in a good friend of mine to do the filming and editing and for 8 hours on Saturday, we interviewed various friends and family.  It was an absolute blast and I cannot wait to see the final product.  Until then, here are some teasers!

I had my camera filming behind the professionals in order to just capture the moment.  Here’s a small teaser from my footage.

Paint It Black, errr, Dark Gray?


Posted by Michael, September 6th, 2011

Before I even dive into this post, do you guys know how hard it is to take pictures of an awkward sized powder room?  An awkward sized powder room that is a bit sandwiched in the hallway between the front door and the kitchen?  I had NO idea how to properly capture this space, so you’re only  getting two pictures tonight!

The powder room is pretty much entirely painted.  We do have some touch-up work to do as well as some re-caulking in some areas.  But otherwise, the incredibly dark and dramatic paint is here to stay.  The pictures don’t really do it justice, the contrast just isn’t strong enough.  I’m sure once we fill the space with some accessories, the space will look incredible.

The dark gray really is growing on me though!  Especially after spending a few minutes in there glazing at a wall.  TMI?  Too far?  We’re friends, right?

Here is the powder room from the hallway.  Holy dark Batman!  It does look a bit black, but I swear, it’s not.

And here is from another angle.  I was hoping to capture the color better against the glossy white sink.  Did it work?

While spending some time in Home Depot yesterday picking up supplies, we decided to look at towel racks and the like.  We found a set we liked, but for the price (roughly $25 for the towel bar and another $25 for the toilet paper holder) we just weren’t completely sold.

We both loved this towel ring as it’s entirely seamless, but after sleeping on it, I think it screams “THIS IS US!” too much.  Do we really want something that screams “US!” in such a dramatic powder room?  I think we can be a bit more creative in this space than going with something predictable.  But ten bucks says we still settle on it.

And here is the toiler paper holder.  Again, we love the brushed nickel and the seamless design — but I feel like we’ve done this before.

What do you think?  Do we go with the predictable options?  Or do we set out to discover something a bit more creative?  My hesitation with the latter is, how creative can you really get with these things anyways?

And by the way, this was the first time I have painted where 1) I didn’t get paint all over my clothes and 2) I didn’t get paint in my hair!  And Macky stayed paint-free as well!

A Day of Labor


Posted by Rebecca, September 5th, 2011

Remember that project I mentioned last week? Yeah well, I didn’t work on it at all this weekend. Mostly because it’s labor intensive and not a Mike job, so it’s a lonely one. With a spare day in this weekend, I woke up and decided to tackle an entirely different project, yay! Because really, what is this blog if it’s not full of unfinished projects and decorating A.D.H.D.?

With a little twisting of the arm, I talked Mike into painting today. He HATES painting. Did I ever tell you that we started our chair rail project because Mike didn’t want to paint the powder room? Yes, he would rather start a major molding project than paint a very small room. Well today, his time was up. The powder room it was!

We had a spare can of Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster that was color matched to Olympic’s no VOC paint. We originally bought it to paint our office stripes but our lighter stripe ended up being darker than we wanted so we made that our dark stripe and picked a new light stripe, sidelining the Smoked Oyster. The Smoked Oyster was actually the color of our spare bathroom in our condo and I always loved it. I’ve been itching to incorporate it into this house and I figured the small powder room was the best choice.

First, I guess I should introduce you to the powder room?

It’s not much (and very hard to take pictures of), but it’s a decent size for a powder room. My major pet peeve with this room is that the towel bar is to the left of the toilet paper holder in this picture. So you wash your hands at the sink, then have to run across the room for a towel? No bueno.

We knew that towel bar was coming down, so we removed it (along with the toilet paper holder, to paint. I wanted a quick and easy day project, so we didn’t plan to replace anything else at this point…just get some color on the walls and do the rest gradually. We were going to remove the mirror because we were planning to replace it eventually and we didn’t want to paint around it, but upon unscrewing… it broke.

Seven years of bad luck…or less time with an awkward, oval shaped mirror. No biggie, it’s not like we get dressed in there in the morning.

Then something else happened, I put the Smoked Oyster on the wall and… it was fugly.

(ps- if you follow me on Twitter you already know about the T.P. teepee. Mike stacked it on Thursday night in an attempt to liven up the space? It was removed before painting)

It had this red violet tint to it that I don’t remember it having…

I was going to live with it, but Mike hated it and I pretty much did too. I didn’t want to have to repaint again in a few months, so off to Lowe’s we went (it was 5:30 tonight, btw)

I knew I wanted something dramatic, so we decided to go with a dark gray color. We picked it straight off of the Olympic selections in a matter of minutes. I later realized that my choice matched my pants and flip flops…

It’s the color in the middle- Cracked Slate.

Yes, it’s incredibly dark and dramatic (I think the picture above makes it appear even darker than it is). I’m still having my doubts, but I secretly love my nearly black bathroom. Mike literally just finished rolling (he was still rolling when I started writing this) so there won’t be any after pictures just yet, but here it is during my cutting in…

I know, some of you just fell over. I painted a small room with no windows nearly black? Yes, yes I did. And it’s not black, it’s very hard to capture on camera. It’s a satiny navy blue-ish, deep purple-ish, very inky color. I normally never tape and just free hand it, but I thought a dark color was risky. Turns out taping made more of a mess and we have a lot of touch ups to do. Somehow our to-do list has grown to include crown molding, since a dark wall meets white ceiling is near impossible to do flawlessly.

I think this room will be one that is transformed with accessories. I love the dark color now, because I can see it and I know where I’m going with it. I didn’t plan (at least at the beginning of this day) to paint it so dark, but I plan on adding glossy white accessories, possibly large matted frames and pops of yellow. Somehow my little 2 hour Labor Day project has turned into a room overhaul complete with a stretching of my limits 🙂

ps- I start grad school again tomorrow and I have class on Tuesday nights until 10:30… which means I won’t be home until 11:30. I will do my best to get you some after pictures tomorrow!

Land Ahead


Posted by Rebecca, June 1st, 2011

Today started the backyard clearing process! When our house was built, the land was only cleared to a certain extent. We have a lot of sticky bush type things, dead trees and even an old log hanging out in our backyard. They all clearly had to go so we could enjoy all of our space, since we couldn’t even see our property markers before today. It’s not completely done yet, so I only took a few pictures to share and hopefully I can give you some before and afters when it’s all done tomorrow.

Here is the right side. All the way to the right you can see our neighbors also had their brush cleared and theirs is all done and looking pretty 🙂

A little more center…

Sort of left center…

And left field side.

We still have 3 dead trees that are getting cut down tomorrow, which is good news considering NJ has a tornado watch in effect tonight. I’ve never lived in an area of tornado watches in my 27 years living here. Yeah so, all the more motivation to get rid of trees that may fall on my house in high winds 🙂

Oh! More good news! Our tree buddy is going to dump our pile of wood at the back of the property line so that we don’t have to carry each of those pieces back there! Yay!

The backyard looks 10 times better already. I’m already thinking of whether I could defy the odds and grow grass in the summer. Hm worth a shot in the shady area between those trees? Then maybe I can do this, which I found on Pinterest…


Or maybe build a kick ass treehouse, also found on Pinterest?


Time will tell what we do with our new found land!

ps- two days later and both hydrangeas in the front yard are blooming!

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